It finally happened. James Harden is no longer a Philadelphia 76er.
The Sixers reportedly agreed to send Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers, his preferred destination, for multiple players including former Sixer Robert Covington and Philadelphia native Marcus Morris. They're also receiving multiple top draft picks and a pick swap as well.
Eliot Shorr-Parks of the Audacy original podcast “Clap Your Hands” explained why this is a great result for the Sixers, and Tyrese Maxey in particular.
“One thing became very clear in the first three games is the star they needed to get with Embiid is Tyrese Maxey. He’s the star. He’s the number two, 1A-1B that Joel Embiid needs, and when that became clear, James Harden was no longer needed on this roster,” Shorr-Parks said (4:15 in player above). “There was no longer a need to hold out to see if you get a Zach Lavine, to see if another trade becomes available.”
Maxey has balled out so far this season with 91 points and 19 assists through three games. He's been the Sixers' primary ballhandler and it's working.
“My reaction to the trade is A) I think the timing is absolutely perfect. I did not want James Harden playing basketball on Thursday,” Shorr-Parks continued. “I want Tyrese Maxey being the dominant ball guard, the main offensive facilitator on this team. That now happens because James Harden is gone.
“That is the biggest part of this trade. If you are talking about the compensation for this trade, you’re missing the point. The point is Tyrese Maxey now can be Tyrese Maxey for this team.”
Maxey has taken a step forward in every season of his young career. The 22-year-old guard averaged 20.3 points but just 3.5 assists per game last year. Those numbers are set to rise after this deal.
While the Sixers didn’t get a star player back in return for Harden, they still received a pretty good haul.
“In terms of the compensation they got back, they actually got more back than I thought,” Shorr-Parks said. “There was lots of talks of them getting one pick or maybe a one and a two. They got two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and a pick swap, plus four players…
“Ultimately, what this trade allowed to have happen is Tyrese Maxey can be Tyrese Maxey. Joel can know what the roster’s going to be like around him. They got draft picks for a future trade if they want to make it. And they got a lot of guys that can shoot.”
The Sixers are ready to enter the Embiid-Maxey Era.